After the release of their freaked-out twelfth album, Embryonic, the Flaming Lips went on a predictably unpredictable musical bender. Rather than just getting back to it and putting out another full-length, the band seemed to be following whatever flights of fancy came their way, first covering Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety before embarking on a string of psychedelic collaborations released in giant gummy skulls, ultra-limited vinyl, candy fetuses, and even actual human skulls. While getting hold of a lot of these limited-edition EPs generally required some combination of dedication, luck, and money (with the human skulls containing the bands 24-hour long song costing $5,000 each), the Lips brought a lot of these hard to find team-ups, as well as a host of new collaborations, to the masses with the 2012 release of The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. Originally released on limited, multi-colored vinyl for Record Store Day 2012, the spaced-out compilation has also seen a wider release on compact disc, allowing people the opportunity to experience previously hard-to-own tracks like "Is David Bowie Dying," "Supermoon Made Me Want to Pee," and "I'm Working at NASA on Acid?," which feature Neon Indian, Prefuse 73, and Lightning Bolt, respectively. The compilation also finds the Lips working with a host of guests that runs from the expected (Tame Impala, Plastic Ono Band) to the downright strange (Biz Markie, Ke$ha). The high point of the album is the cover of the iconic "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which finds the band working with Erykah Badu to transform the song into a haunting and glacial, ten-minute shoegaze epic. The stunning cover is the most beautiful and cohesive on what is an otherwise (understandably) uneven collection which, while definitely appealing to hardcore fans, might be a bit too out there for casual listeners.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney